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August 27, 2013

Essay on Cyber Bullying in Educational Setting

Cyber-Bullying in the Educational Setting

Young Internet users have created their own interactive world away from adult knowledge and supervision. In a survey of young people by Media Awareness Network, 50 percent of respondents said they usually only browse the Internet and only 16 percent talk often with their parents about their online activities. Proponents of harassment obviously prefer to operate out of sight of adults, and the Internet is the ideal tool for reaching others anywhere and anytime. So, for many young people, home is no longer a refuge against the cruelty of some of their classmates.

The anonymity of the Internet is that young people feel freer to commit acts they would never do in real life. Even if we can trace their identity, they can always claim that someone has stolen their password. Nothing forces them to admit the facts. When it is impossible to prove the guilt of an individual, fear of punishment is diminished.

This type of remote communications also affects the ethical behavior of young people by preventing them from directly witnessing the consequences of their actions on others, which minimizes feelings of empathy or remorse. Young people say things online that they would never say in person because they feel removed from their victim and the results of their attacks.

There are different forms of cyberbullying. Sometimes it insults or threats directly to the victim via email or instant messaging. Youth may also spread hateful comments about a person, especially through email and instant messaging or postings on websites. They often do so under a false identity using a stolen password to someone else. Those of them who have a good knowledge of technology are even able to mount a real website, often protected by a password, to target specific students or teachers.

In addition, more and more young people are bullied via text messages sent on their cell phones. This type of phone completely escapes adult supervision. Unlike a computer placed in a conspicuous location at home, school or library, cell phones are personal, private, always connected and accessible. Young people tend to keep open all day and can be harassed at school and even in their own room.

Some phones even have built-in cameras that add a new dimension to the problem. Students have used them to shoot an overweight classmate in the showers after gym class and a few minutes later, the picture was distributed to all email addresses from the school.(Alexander, 1991)

The Schools are struggling to address the phenomenon of cyberbullying, especially outside of school. Teachers can generally respond to harassment or persecution in real life, in class or in the playground, but online bullying off the radar of adults, making it difficult to locate within school and impossible to monitor off.

Efforts to Control Bullying
Bullying is a serious matter and needs collective efforts from government, families and schools.
Efforts at Government level
Congress had passed several laws to avoid and to deal with the problem of school violence, some of such laws are:
  • Safe School Act of 1994: according to this law, Department of Education provides grants to such school districts, which have a high rate of school violence, to reduce this violence
  • Safe and Drug free Schools and Communities Act of 1994: under this law, Department of Education provides grants to states to prevent violence and use of alcohol and drugs in and around schools
·         The Family and Community Endeavor Schools Act and the Community School Youth Services and Supervision Grant Program of 1994: under this law, Department of Education, Department of Health and the Human Services provide grants for the development of at-risk children in poor and high crime communities. Under this law, programs like homework assistance, educational assistance, social and athletic activities etc. also organized.(Amado, 1991)
Problems with Anti-bullying efforts
The problem is that the circumstances of school violence differ from school to school and it is not possible for congress to formulate such a law which would be equally benefited for every school. For example throwing money to avoid school violence is not feasible in the cases of schools of poor areas because they might exaggerate their violence to get more money.
School violence prevention programs can be categorized into three different categories:
  • School Management Based Programs: these programs stress on the overall behavior of the students and discipline among them. They focus on to provide alternative schools and good relationship with law enforcement agencies
  • Environmental Modification: the main focus of these programs is to change student’s violent behavior by changing their social or physical environment. This may include after-school programs or increasing or decreasing school size etc.
  • Educational and Curriculum based programs: such programs emphasize on teaching behavior management skills and non-violent conflict resolution techniques to students
Evaluation of all these programs is not easy. It has been noticed that it is not possible to understand the efficacy of any specific violence-prevention program in a particular case.  Most of the violence-prevention programs focus on changing social skill and attitudes but do not delve into the reasons behind the violent behavior.

Alexander, Pamela, C.  Sharon, Moore and Elmore, R. Alexander III. (1991, August). What is
transmitted in the intergenerational transmission of violence? Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53.
Amato, Paul, R. and Bruce, Keith. (1991, February). Parental Divorce and adult well-being: A
meta analysis.  Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53.


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